Tuesday, October 11, 2005


What does it say about our commander in chief that we even needed a Senate resolution to ban cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners of war? In pursuit of a vaguely defined "war on terror," this country has seized hundreds of people from around the globe, isolated them in secret cells and given them no meaningful notice of what wrongs they are alleged to have committed or any serious opportunity to show that the allegations are wrong . Terror suspects are also sent overseas - to places like Syria and Egypt -by the United States for interrogation by security officials who are accused of using torture, not least by the US State Department. And of course, we've all seen the photos from Abu Ghreb, and read about the prisoners who were routinely tortured in Afghanistan.

Like most Americans, I am embarrassed that it's taken a Senate resolution to make it clear that these pratices are unacceptable. Wouldn't you expect the president of the United States to know right from wrong on his own?

In a similar vein, I am embarrassed that the Supreme Court of Israel needed to intervene to stop the Israeli Army from using Palestinians as human shields. Why doesn't the average Israeli military man know that it's wrong to send civilians into houses to see if they are booby-trapped? That's it's wrong to use a civilian driven ambulance and a shield? There are some standards of behavior which are recognized by every other civilized nation. Perhaps this is my cultural arrogance speaking, but I expect the United States and Israel to be leaders, and not followers, in this regard